Making gluten-free, sorghum-based beers easier to brew and enjoy

Beer is usually made from barley, leaving those with a gluten allergy unable to enjoy. Sorghum could be an alternative, but complex preparation steps hamper its adoption. A team reporting in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research has uncovered an enzyme that could improve sorghum-based beers’ future.

Genetically engineered vesicles target cancer cells more effectively

Nanovesicles can be bioengineered to target cancer cells and deliver treatments directly, according to research at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Breakthrough microscopy technique “supersizes” cells to reveal genetic activity

Breakthrough microscopy techniques are helping researchers visualize the ways our molecules interact with the human genome. Researchers at Yale School of Medicine used a series of expandable gels to pull apart a cell and expand it to 4000 times its…

Deep Learning-Drives Insights into Protein-Protein Interactions

Protein-protein interactions are essential for life. Researchers used DeepMind’s AlphaFold 2 to develop a deep learning approach for predicting and modeling multi-protein interactions. The AF2Complex approach generates much more accurate structural models than previous methods for modeling a protein complex. As a proof of concept, the researchers used AF2Complex to virtually screen key proteins in E. coli, discovering unexpected protein-protein interactions.

Hijacking our cells’ enzymes to eliminate disease-causing proteins

The researchers looked at a ubiquitin ligase enzyme named FBXL2, known to degrade proteins at various cellular membrane compartments. They found that by attaching or detaching a fat molecule or lipid to FBXL2 — a process called palmitoylation and de-palmitoylation — they could direct where the FBXL2 went. They also discovered that in order to travel in the aqueous cellular environment for the delivery of lipid-modified FBXL2 to membrane compartments, it used a trafficking protein called PDE6D, which is known to shield the lipid modifications.

First-of-its-kind instrument officially ushers in new era of X-ray science

Arizona State University has officially begun a new chapter in X-ray science with a newly commissioned, first-of-its-kind instrument that will help scientists see deeper into matter and living things. The device, called the compact X-ray light source (CXLS), marked a major milestone in its operations as ASU scientists generated its first X-rays on the night of Feb. 2.

Study Explores Effects of Resistance Training in Older Adults at the Cellular Level

Aging and related diseases are associated with alterations in oxidative status and low-grade inflammation, as well as a decreased endoplasmic reticulum (ER) unfolded protein response (UPR). UPR is a functional mechanism by which cells attempt to protect themselves against ER stress. Researchers analyzed these proteins in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of elderly subjects and used computer simulation to predict the key proteins associated with these biomolecules underlying physiological adaptations to exercise. They collected blood samples about five to six days before and after the training period and analyzed various oxidative stress biomarkers in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The study takes research one step further in helping to elucidate the benefits of exercise in this population.

Modified nucleotides used in COVID-19 vaccines work as designed

The remarkable effectiveness of mRNA vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 has generated much interest in synthetic mRNA therapeutics for treating and preventing disease. But some basic science questions have remained about whether the modified nucleotides used in the vaccines faithfully produce the protein products that they are designed to make.

Protein Parts Must Indeed Wiggle and Jiggle to Work Right, New Research Suggests

Johns Hopkins Medicine scientists report they have probed the atomic structure of proteins to add to evidence that the wobbles, shakes and quivers of proteins play a critical role in their ability to function. The findings of the research may help scientists design new drugs that can modify or disrupt the intricate “dances” of proteins to alter their functions.

Computer Simulations of Proteins Help Unravel Why Chemotherapy Resistance Occurs

Understanding why and how chemotherapy resistance occurs is a major step toward optimizing treatments for cancer. A team of scientists including Markus Seeliger, PhD, of the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, believe they have found a new process through which drug resistance happens.

Researchers create a breakthrough tool for superfast molecular movies

Certain biological events, such as proteins changing their shapes to perform some functions, occur so quickly that current methods of molecular imaging cannot capture them. Now, a research team has created a machine-learning technique that can “fill in” missing data needed to document proteins in action in time scales of a few quadrillionths of a second.

Can Proteins Bind Based Only on Their Shapes?

Proteins bind together through a complex mix of chemical interactions. What if some proteins bind due to their shapes, a much simpler process? Researchers used the Summit supercomputer to model a type of interaction that requires proteins to chemically “fit” precisely. The team found that among a sample of 46 protein pairs that bind to one another, 6 often assembled based on their shapes.

Einstein-Developed Treatment Strategy May Lead to HIV Cure

Armed with a novel strategy they developed for bolstering the body’s immune response, scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine have successfully suppressed HIV infections in mice—offering a path to a functional cure for HIV and other chronic viral infections. Their findings were published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Regulator Proteins or Symphonies of Genes: Statistical Modeling Points Way Toward Unified Theory for DNA Folding

Researchers seek to point a way toward a unified theory for how DNA changes shape when expressing genes. Presenting their work in Biophysics Reviews, the scientists use an approach called statistical mechanics to explore the phenomenon of so-called expression waves of gene regulation.

Scientists Find a Pair of Proteins Control Supply Lines That Feed Cancer Cells

In human cancer cell and mouse studies, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine have found that a set of proteins work in tandem to build supply lines that deliver oxygen and nutrients to tumors, enabling them to survive and grow. The protein twosome, PADI4 and HIF-1, ramp up their activity under low-oxygen conditions that are typically found in a fast-growing tumor, allowing it to build new blood vessels that feed the cancer’s growth.

Scientists repurpose cancer and seizure medications to aid in the fight against COVID-19

Two teams of researchers using the Advanced Photon Source identified existing drugs — one used to treat cancer, the other an anti-seizure medication — that may work as treatments for COVID-19.

Advanced Photon Source helps reveal how antibodies bind a molecule linked to cancer

Researchers have developed antibodies that can bind to phosphohistidine, an unstable molecule that’s linked to cancer. To learn how the two bind together, the team turned to the powerful X-rays at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source. These new insights into its structure will help scientists design better antibodies for potential treatments.

CUR Health Sciences Division Announces 2021 NCUR Presentation Awardees

CUR’s Health Sciences Division announces the 2021 recipients of its NCUR Presentation Awards. The awards cover the cost of registration for undergraduates presenting original research at the 2021 National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

Corals Carefully Organize Proteins to Form Rock-Hard Skeletons

Charles Darwin, the British naturalist who championed the theory of evolution, noted that corals form far-reaching structures, largely made of limestone, that surround tropical islands. He didn’t know how they performed this feat. Now, Rutgers scientists have shown that coral structures consist of a biomineral containing a highly organized organic mix of proteins that resembles what is in our bones. Their study, published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, shows for the first time that several proteins are organized spatially – a process that’s critical to forming a rock-hard coral skeleton.

More than 1,000 SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus Protein 3D Structures Available

New Brunswick, N.J. (March 3, 2021) – The 3D structures of more than 1,000 SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus proteins are freely available from the RCSB Protein Data Bank headquartered at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. The data bank reached the milestone this week, with 1,018 proteins as…

Harnessing the Power of Proteins in our Cells to Combat Disease

A lab on UNLV’s campus has been a hub of activity in recent years, playing a significant role in a new realm of drug discovery — one that could potentially provide a solution for patients who have run out of options.

Bringing Bad Proteins Back Into The Fold

DALLAS – Feb. 11, 2021 – A study led by UT Southwestern has identified a mechanism that controls the activity of proteins known as chaperones, which guide proteins to fold into the right shapes. The findings, published online today in Nature Communications, could shed light on hundreds of degenerative and neurodegenerative diseases caused by protein misfolding, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s, potentially leading to new treatments for these devastating conditions.

Researchers use lasers and molecular tethers to create perfectly patterned platforms for tissue engineering

University of Washington researchers developed a technique to modify naturally occurring biological polymers with protein-based biochemical messages to affect cell behavior. Their approach uses near-infrared lasers to trigger chemical adhesion of proteins to scaffolds made from biological polymers like collagen.

How to Identify Heat-Stressed Corals

Researchers have found a novel way to identify heat-stressed corals, which could help scientists pinpoint the coral species that need protection from warming ocean waters linked to climate change, according to a Rutgers-led study.

Rutgers Expert Can Discuss AI Advances Linked to RCSB Protein Data Bank

New Brunswick, N.J. (Dec. 3, 2020) – Stephen K. Burley, director of the RCSB Protein Data Bank headquartered at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, is available for interviews on how the bank’s 50 years of data on the 3D biomolecular structures of life and artificial intelligence can lead…

How Did Red Algae Survive in Extreme Environments?

Red algae have persisted in hot springs and surrounding rocks for about 1 billion years. Now, a Rutgers-led team will investigate why these single-celled extremists have thrived in harsh environments – research that could benefit environmental cleanups and the production of biofuels and other products.